Ana Ivanovic had an easy finish to her opening round at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix Tuesday night. After making a big comeback in the opening set, the 2014 finalist blanked Carina Witthoeft in the second to win 7-6(3), 6-0 in straight sets on centre court.
The two popular Europeans have never met before but in a first rounder of a WTA premier event, the competition would be fierce. Witthoeft has the home advantage after she qualified for the event getting through a single round clinching her spot. Though she hasn’t been on a run of winning matches, her appearances show that Witthoeft has the heart to take on some of the best.
The Serb is back in action for the first time since the Miami Masters where she lost in the third round of action there. With only practice on the clay surface, she’ll hope that she can have another long week of success like she did at the St. Petersburg Ladies Open.
She came out doing well but the same could be said for Witthoeft who held serve through four games until her attack on the break gave her the lead. The victory in the fifth gave the German some room to try and increase her margin of victory when serving the sixth. The consistency from her end paid off taking a 4-2 hold in the set delivering strong ground stokes on the rallies pressuring Ivanovic.
The Serb dug in on her service in the seventh to get back within reach of leveling the set. During the break she took a meeting with coach Nigel Sears who urged her to search for control in the match. She nearly had with two double faults coming from Witthoeft but she regrouped to force deuce and save the first break point to go up 5-3. Things looked rough for Ivanovic, but by some power in her game, she came back to rock the German with great shots that earned her a win and then won the break that tied the set at five all.
With things level, the race began to win the seventh and with the Serb on fire, Witthoeft had to keep her end together and not let it slip away. She gained a win to level the set through 12 setting up a huge tiebreaker between the two. They got into a fight where six points had them evened out.
The experience of being in situations like it proved well for Ivanovic as she gained the lead on the board and never looked back. The Serb executed brilliantly winning the next four ending the set in her favor with a three game winning streak. The set lasted 55 minutes with Ivanovic having improved significantly landing four times as many winners than Witthoeft and playing flawless at the net.
Ivanovic opened the second set with a fourth straight but found locking down the fifth difficult. In the end she got it done taking another block from Witthoeft’s success to command her way to a 2-0 lead. She began to make it look too easy, as the spirit of Witthoeft was dwindling finding herself down four games straight. Ivanovic closed out the low ranked German getting the bagel locked it to end the set with a triple match point win. The match took 1 hour and 21 minutes to complete in what turned into a runaway for the former number one. She had high numbers at the end of it landing 75 percent on the first serve four of seven break points won and 32 winners total.
With her once again showing dominance, more chances will come, as she’ll await the winner between Karolina Pliskova and Lucie Safarova in the second round.